So, a girl walks into a bar...

None of these are Suzy, but a good reason
to post a wine/working/drinking photo.
Ok, so the girl was my friend, and we weren't at a bar (we were at Arturo's, yum!) but there was wine and social media conversation involved. Let's just call her Suzy.

Naturally, I'll help Suzy. She hears opportunity knocking, and knows that the public relations industry is ever changing. What once was a glad-hand, take-the-media-to-dinner, buy-some-advertising, play-nice-with-my-financial-report type of relationship, has transformed into an online-googleable, is-it-SEO-worthy, follow-me type of shout outs. (right now she's thinking - oh crap! what does that mean?!)

Now, these are obviously my nonsense description of how I see another change in the world of communications, and doesn't apply to all PR of course. There are still the perfect reasons for pitching the best story ideas over lunch, good media coverage from product roll-out events, and of course the ol' wire press release. However, if your still doing all these things, and skipping social media integration, you've GOT to be missing out!

So, my dear friend Suzy wants to get started. I've promised to help (as long as more wine will be involved). What better way than to make Suzy read my blog to get her answers. After she's read my blog and built the structure for her community, I'll sit down with Suzy and talk strategy. Since she is REALLY new to this, we're starting her off with baby steps.

Step 1: Brand yourself
This is a huge step all on its own. Decide on a profile picture that is professional and easily recognized by your peers. Decide on a writing style and stick with it. Decide what types of conversations you want to have. Decide on where to draw the line (or if you even want to) between personal and professional.

Step 2: Decide on an outlet
Now, I say this because I don't think everyone has to do EVERYTHING. I think you can choose one type of social media, and just start there. I am going to ask Suzy to create a Facebook account. Why Facebook? She can easily create automatic updates for a twitter account, her Linkedin account and even a blog if she wanted to. This way, she updates once, and all the different sites keep her account active. Later, when she gets the hang of things, she can concentrate on different strategy for each outlet, but lets try and keep her from getting overwhelmed.

Step 3: Interact
Suzy has to learn that no matter how cute she looks in her photo (and she will because she is using Victoria Lind Photography) and no matter now many friends she collects on Facebook (and she will because everyone loves Suzy) her accounts are worth nothing unless she uses them. You must read other peoples posts, you must send people material you find interesting, you must stay connected. Be sure to tell your manager how you found a journalist through a group on Linkedin (by the way nice to meet you Paul Desmond) Show your sales team how to find leads on Twitter. Easily keep relationships across the nation with all types of Journalists (hope all is well Kristin Burnham).

Step 4: Read, Read, and Re-Read
My marketing coordinator asked me the other day "do you think Facebook will always be this popular?". Nope, I don't. I have no doubt that something (one day) will replace it. And whatever that is, I'll be one of the first to join it because I'll have already read someone's blog about it and saw the numerous amounts of tweets and youtube coverage about it!

Well Suzy, I really hope this helps. When you've completed steps 1 and 2, I'll come help you with the rest...

See other stories of "How to get started in Social Media" here. (from people who are much more qualified than I am. But not as good looking)